Axa's UK general insurance business has been hit hard by the restructuring of its personal motor business.

Revenues in personal motor fell 30% to £211m for the first six months of 2001. The insurer said this was due to ratings actions taken during the past 12 months, which lead to a decline in business with intermediary channels.

Total UK revenues fell by 2.5% to £820m for the first six months of 2001, compared to the same period in 2000. Axa said the effects were expected to last until the end of the year.

Another factor in the revenue drop was the withdrawal from non-profitable contracts, especially ones within its affinity group (resellers such as retailers and utilities).

Personal non-motor revenues fell 5%, due to reduced business levels from affinity partners. Business levels fell because premium rates had risen, Axa said.

Commercial insurance revenues rose 13%, due to rate increases of 15% on average being applied across all lines of business.

Axa said it had also been selective in its acquisition of former Independent Insurance business.

Axa's chief executive, Henri de Castries, said the company's revenue growth showed the benefits of having interests across many markets and lines of business.

He said: “Rates (in the property and casualty business) continued to recover in the first half of the year, but were partially offset by a decrease in policy count as we have continued to apply tougher underwriting standards which should improve profitability going forward”.

He said this process was essentially over and he expected to see some growth in business going forward.